- The Land Laws of Belize are derived mainly from the Common
Law and English Statutes of the 19th century. The Law
of Property Act, Chapter 190 is similar to the
Real Property Act 1925 of England in many ways. Other relevant
statutes include the Registered Land Act,
Chp 194 (1977). This
statute governs all land transactions of Belize. You can read
all the laws of Belize at www.belizelaw.org or contact a few
of the attorneys with whom we are associated by clicking
- There are two types (categories) of Land in
Belize. They are: (a) Undeclared Land & (b)
Transactions (transfers) done for Undeclared Land
in Belize has to be recorded at the Titles Registry. On the
other hand, transactions done for Declared Lands
are to be registered at the Land registry. Both Registry offices
are located in Belmopan (Cayo District).
The Law of Property
Act also allows for acquisition of property to take place in
the instance that one has settled on a land for more than 30
years. In addition to mere settlement, one has to have continuous
undisturbed possession of land for 30 years. If the Supreme court
finds that possession is established, they may issue a declaration
of Title in respect of said easement, right or privilege to the
individual putting forward the claim. Such claims are not prevalent;
however, it is good to know that such acquisition are possible.
- Property purchasers can
take title to freehold property in Belize in one of three different
ways. They are: (a) Deed of Conveyance, (b) Transfer of Certificate,
and (c) Land Certificate.
(i) Deed of Conveyance:
The oldest form of title ownership is
by a Deed of Conveyance. Ownership by way of conveyance is
a registered right to ownership of property. Ownership by conveyance
can be converted to a Certificate of Title via an application
for first registration. Any subsequent buyer is issued a Transfer
Certificate of Title. It should be noted, however, that a Deed
of Conveyance is a valid legal title once an attorney has confirmed
that the seller has good title to the property.
(ii) A Transfer of Certificate:
A Transfer Certificate of Title is a physical
title to a particular parcel of land. This form of ownership
is secure. It is more costly and time consuming to transfer
title on a Transfer Certificate of Title than on a Deed of
(iii) A Land Certificate:
A Land Certificate is an absolute
title and applies to property purchases in new or specially
designated areas. The Government is in the process of re-registering
all freehold lands under the Registered Land Act of 1987 to
achieve an eventual uniform system of nationwide land ownership.
However this will take time, as some areas have to be re surveyed.
or Transfer Exercise
- The Conveyance or Transfer exercise commences with either
the Vendor and the Purchaser or between one of the parties
and a Real Estate Agent. As the Real Estate Agent, Buy Belize,
represents both the Vendor and Purchaser and guarantees satisfaction
to both parties.
- The first step in the trasfer process is the creation of the
Sale Agreement and Purchase Agreement Contracts. These contracts
sets out the basic terms on which the property is to be transferred.
This agreement is not always needed for a trasfer to take place;
however, it does help to guarantee and expediate the Trasfer
/ Purchase to take place. Note: That these contracts are not
conveyance documents and do not transfer the property.
- Next, Buy Belize Real Estate will carry out the Title Search
Services at the request of the purchasers. In order to do this,
one of our representatives will venture to Belmopan (to the Lands
Titles Office) and carry out a search on the property documents.
This will allow us to find out all the information concerning the
property being transfered. We will be able to discover whether
or not the property has any liens, unpaid taxes, mortgages associated
with it or if there were any claims on the property at some point
in the past. This search will also allow us to discover whether
or not there are any form of restrictive covenant or incumbrance
in respect of the property for sale. This is a very time consuming
process which may take many hours, if not weeks as the searcher
will have to browse through all the the Volume & Folio
of the Title in order to check whether the Title reflects correctly.
- We recommend that a property Title
search be conducted by the Purchaser for all properties.
- The Ideal arrangements are for the vendor and purchaser to attain
an Attorney together as this can save time and money. Both the
vendor and purchaser can have a single attorney prepare
and file the Transfer documents. Or the Purchaser can have his
own personal attorney over see said documents. This will however
be at the purchaser expense.
- The Purchase & Sales Agreement Form sets out the following
- The names, address and occupation of the parties.
- If there is more than one Purchaser, the manner in which
the purchasers will hold the Land as joint Tenants or Tenants
- Description of the Land, dimensions, location and Volume & Folio
numbers of the Title (Registered land only).
- Purchase price should be written in figures and words.
- The amount or percentage of deposit required from the purchaser.
- The Balance is due at the date the Transaction is
expected to be completed.
- Tthe Purchaser may be liable to forfeit his
deposit if he fails to complete the purchase at time
stated in the agreement. (e.g.) there can be conflict between
making time essence and other provisions, if therefore both
provisions are to be inserted, they must be skillfully and
carefully worded by an Attorney to avoid conflict.
- Our Company will be responsible
for preparing, executing and lodging the Transfer documents
and finalizing it.
Transfer documents range according to the details of the property
being purchased - whether it is a declared or undeclared land parcel.
These documents include: (a) First Certificate of Title, (b)
Transfer Certificate, (c) Deed of Conveyance and (d) Land Certificate.
Our Company will do the necessary checks and gather
the necessary approvals that are necessary to carry out the property
transfer. If there are two or more purchasers, then the document
must state the manner in which the new owners will hold the
property, for example, whether as joint tenants or tenant in common.
Note: Tenants in common does not provide true legal ownership to
the purchasers in Belize.
The Transfer is usually accompanied by the following
- The original Land Title.
- Discharge of mortgage or discharge of a charge.
- Recording or registration fees and stamp duty.
Our company will also ensure that the various documents
are signed and stamped by the Justice of the Peace in Belize when
necessary. Note: The Purchasers do not have to be in the country
for the transfer to take place. We will explain the details of this
at our offices in Belize.
There are certain basic minimum costs which must
be met by both parties when it comes to property transfers in Belize.
These are: Stamp Duty, Recording of Registration Fees,
Property Taxes, and the Real Estate Company Expense. The property
taxes are to be incurred by the sellers while the other fees are
to be paid by the purchaser. Most of the cost incurred by the purchaser
apply to property recordings, registration, leasees, mortgages
and micellanous charges.
Other services that may bear additional charges
based on the request of the purchaser include: Title search,
valuation report, and the discharge of existing mortgage, or the
registration of new mortgage:
Stamp Duty -
(a) 5 % of the Declared Property Value